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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #337808

Research Project: Genetic Improvement and Virus Management of Small Fruit Crops

Location: Horticultural Crops Research

Title: Identifying blueberry germplasm that is slow to get Blueberry shock virus in the Pacific Northwest United States

Author
item Finn, Chad
item Mackey, Theodore - Ted
item Postman, Joseph
item Martin, Robert - Bob

Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/23/2017
Publication Date: 11/25/2017
Citation: Finn, C.E., Mackey, T.A., Postman, J.D., Martin, R.R. 2017. Identifying blueberry germplasm that is slow to get Blueberry shock virus in the Pacific Northwest United States. Acta Horticulture Proceedings. 1180:423-429. https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1180.59.

Interpretive Summary: Blueberry shock virus (BlShV) is a serious problem in blueberry production in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Surprisingly, bees and other pollinators are the vector of this pollen borne virus, so infection occurs during bloom. Once infected, the virus moves into other parts of the plant in an uneven but steady manner and may take several years to become fully systemic in mature bushes. Since pollinators are the vector, vector control is not a viable solution for controlling the spread of this virus. While there appears to be no immunity as tested by grafting, it has been recognized that the rate of infection varies among genotypes. Plants in the USDA breeding program and at the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository collection have been tested regularly for BlShV, in some cases for nearly 20 years, and germplasm that is particularly slow to become infected has been identified. At Oregon State University, North Willamette Research and Extension Center, ‘Legacy’, ‘Toro’, ‘Bluecrop’, ‘Baby Blues’, ‘Darrow’ and all rabbiteye cultivars have tested negative for BlShV for over 10 years while growing among many known positive plants. On the other extreme, ‘Berkeley’, ‘Bluegold’, ‘Brigitta Blue’, ‘Nui’ and ‘Spartan’ tested positive in the year following their 1st bloom. At the NCGR, ‘Bladen’, ‘Harding’, ‘Lateblue’, ‘Legacy’, ‘Razz’, US 612, US 693, US 845 and US 847 all tested negative after 20 years in the field. ‘Toro’ and ‘Bluecrop’, which had tested negative after 20+ years at NWREC, were positive at the NCGR, as were many rabbiteye cultivars. Crosses have been made among genotypes that are slow to test positive for BlShV to try to develop this trait in cultivars.

Technical Abstract: Blueberry shock virus (BlShV) is a serious problem in blueberry production in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region of North America. Infection occurs during bloom and the virus moves into other parts of the plant in an uneven but steady manner and may take several years to become fully systemic in mature bushes. In the year after infection, emerging flower and leaf tissues die rapidly at full bloom followed by regrowth. Once symptoms have been exhibited in all parts of the plant, the plant remains asymptomatic in subsequent years. Infection in young plants of some cultivars can stunt the plant for the remainder of its life, however, more typically production is lost for one year. While there appears to be no immunity as tested by grafting, it has been recognized that the rate of infection varies among genotypes. Plants in the HCRU breeding program and at the NCGR, have been tested regularly by ELISA for BlShV, in some cases for nearly 20 years, and germplasm that is particularly slow to become infected has been identified. At Oregon State University, North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC), ‘Legacy’, ‘Toro’, ‘Bluecrop’, ‘Baby Blues’, ‘Darrow’ and all rabbiteye cultivars have tested negative for BlShV for over 10 years while growing among many known positive plants. On the other extreme, ‘Berkeley’, ‘Bluegold’, ‘Brigitta Blue’, ‘Nui’ and ‘Spartan’ tested positive in the year following their 1st bloom. At the NCGR, ‘Bladen’, ‘Harding’, ‘Lateblue’, ‘Legacy’, ‘Razz’, US 612, US 693, US 845 and US 847 all tested negative after 20 years in the field. ‘Toro’ and ‘Bluecrop’, which had tested negative after 20+ years at NWREC, were positive at the NCGR, as were many rabbiteye cultivars. Crosses have been made among genotypes that are slow to test positive for BlShV to try to develop this trait in cultivars.